Planning your Meetings

Love em or hate em, face to face meetings are still a necessary evil even in this digital/cyber/online world. People still need to get together and discuss issues, make decisions or just to get their point across. It’s important not to waste company time with unnecessary, long and boring meetings, which sometimes just seem like an excuse for the key speaker to yak on and listen to the sound of their own voice. Yes, their Mom may have told them they are fabulous, but we don’t all need to hear everything they have to say.

If you’re in charge of planning a meeting, take some time to think about what the key issues should be. If it can take half an hour, don’t let it drag on for two. You may think you can get more done in a longer time, but all that happens is people get bored, frustrated or stop listening. I’ve heard one chairperson used to have all meetings standing up; it’s amazing how quickly you can get decisions made once your legs start aching!

A meeting plan is your friend, have your topics written down, starting with the most important things to discuss first, in case you run out of time. Try to get everyone involved in the discussion, by asking questions and actually listening and being interested in the answers, even if they are different to yours. A good debate can be positive, as long as no one gets too heated up. Brushing people off can make them not want to join in next time, and you could miss out on some really good ideas.

You want to be the kind of chairperson that when you call a meeting, people don’t wish they could run for cover, or hide in the bathroom. Careful planning, sticking to your agenda and group participation are key to a successful and positive meeting.